New Mexico State University Department of Music is planning a world premiere of Music Professor Lon Chaffin's new one-act opera, "Burden of Love," next spring. Auditions for the vocal lead roles are set for next week, and Chaffin wants to include as many students, members of the campus and the broader Las Cruces community as possible. He estimates there will be 50 to 60 people involved in the performance.
Vocal auditions are set for 4:30 to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 27, in the NMSU Department of Music Choir room.
In addition to the several lead vocal roles, the University Singers, directed by Jake Taylor, will serve as the chorus and a few small solo parts will come from that ensemble. The NMSU Philharmonic Orchestra, directed by Jorge Martinez-Rios, will be performing and will actually be on stage with the singers in a unique "concert" type production. Visiting Professor Sarah Neely is the director of Opera Workshop.
Some of the main characters of the opera are based on input from a survey of NMSU students and faculty who anonymously shared their own stories of challenges, heartbreaks, and tragedies. Chaffin wove these stories into the plot, and through the opera's main message, intends to offer hope to those who are suffering.
"You see so much hatred, violence and negativity in the news and on social media," Chaffin said. "With this show, I want to encourage people to be kinder, more compassionate and more forgiving.
"This is the age-old story of good versus evil and the people who are caught in between," Chaffin explained. "It's a tale of one person who brings love and hope to hurting people, despite the opposition of evil. The title, 'Burden of Love,' comes from this individual's compelling desire to share love with those in need."
The one-act opera will run approximately 45 to 50 minutes. Rehearsals will begin in late October. The performances are scheduled for March 25 and March 26, 2023.
For those interested in auditioning, the selections are available in the NMSU Department of Music office or contact Rena Crollett at 575-646-2421.